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Congressman Tom Garrett

Representing the 5th District of Virginia

My Thoughts on President Trump's First Week

January 30, 2017
Columns

President Trump kicked off his first week in the Oval Office by delivering on a series of promises he made on the campaign trail. Among those were the following executive orders:

  • Rolling back the economic burden of the Affordable Care Act
  • Building a wall along the southern border of Mexico and deploying 5,000 new border protection officers
  • Re-instating the ‘Mexico City Policy’ that bars financial aid from the United States Federal Government to international non-governmental agencies that perform or promote abortions
  • Allowing for the initial stages of the Keystone XL Pipeline to begin with a renegotiation of the terms forthcoming
  • Protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the U.S.

In light of these orders, I wanted to share some of my thoughts on these issues.

The ACA has been a flawed program since its inception. Prior to my candidacy for Congress, I represented residents of the 22nd Senatorial District of Virginia and heard countless stories from small business owners, families, and friends who have been adversely affected by Obamacare. Republicans have released a plan and similarly, I have put forward ideas to ensure those with pre-existing conditions are able to receive healthcare and to create a framework for reciprocity across state lines via amending McCarron-Ferguson antitrust exemptions.

In terms of border security, I have been a harsh critic of the former administration for not properly protecting our borders or enforcing existing immigration law. America is a nation of laws and any law that isn’t enforced weakens all other laws. Further, if politicians lack the will to enforce the laws on the books, we should either change our laws, or our political leaders, or both. President Trump’s move to create physical barriers consistent with the enforcement of existing immigration laws is a move in the right direction. Further, his move to temporarily halt refugees from high risk regions entering the U.S. is common sense and mirrors actions of his predecessor which were in several instances more far reaching, and interestingly did not meet with such strident opposition when they were enacted. Let us not forget that the heads of the FBI and of Homeland Security said of our current system that it was impossible to properly vet such arrivals. Let us also not forget the over seventy killed and over three hundred wounded in just four attacks on American soil in the last few years by radical Islamists who were either migrants or the children of migrants. And finally, let us not ignore ISIS' very own public statements that it would use refugee streams to infiltrate the U.S. Couple that with a refugee attack that killed twelve and injured many more just a month ago in Berlin, Germany, and there is a logical argument to be made.

Another issue I have been extremely passionate about is my stance on the right to life. Beyond the basic issue of whether or not life is sacred and should be protected (it is and it should), or whether you are pro-life or not, it isn’t hard to understand why in a nation approaching twenty trillion in debt, I will not support tax payer funded abortions at home or abroad.

With regard to energy policy, there has been bipartisan support for the Keystone pipeline for years. I personally am supportive of the President’s move to green light this process. Having said that, we should continue working to create sustainable, clean, and renewable energy alternatives.  Alas we are not yet at a point where those options can fulfill our energy and economic needs and as such job-creating initiatives such as the Keystone Pipeline are necessary.

The 115th Congress has only just begun but I am excited to work with both the President, and my colleagues, both Democrat and Republican, on advancing policies to improve the lives of all Americans.